It just ain't cricket any more
CRICKET and corruption have been batting partners for so long now that Saturday's putsch in which Mtutuzeli Nyoka was ousted did not come as a surprise.
South African cricket, in the guise of the United Cricket Board, now known as Cricket South Africa, has dealt weakly with corruption in the game.
Take the unresolved Hansie Cronjé affair. The former South African captain was quickly put through the ringer when he admitted to match fixing and the judicial commission appointed to establish his guilt had an element of a show trial to it.
Judge Edwin "Sharky" King had to listen to poor questioning from the person leading evidence and some bunkum hearsay stuff from a senior cricket official. The judge was unable to make a final finding because his commission was quickly closed down once there was enough evidence to ban Cronje from cricket for life.
It is no wonder there is still a measure of ambivalence in South Africa about the disgraced skipper. Some still regard him as a hero because the carpet was pulled out from under the King Commission just when it appeared to be at the point of uncovering Cronjé's accomplices.
The Cronjé affair marked the beginning of public distrust of the game, and it has not stopped.
Right now there is a trial in London in which more allegations of cheating in international cricket are being made. No wonder that, whenever an international cricket match takes a slightly unexpected turn, the question arises: "Is the match being fixed?"
Cricket is not likely to shed its dodgy image as long as events like Saturday's special meeting of the CSA's executive continue.
The CSA board was willing to pervert the entire organisation to protect its chief executive, Gerald Majola, against Nyoka's allegations of malfeasance.
To hear AK Khan, the governing body's vice-president, justify the reason and methods used to oust Nyoka you would think we were dealing with a shining example of democracy at work.
Khan and his colleagues on the board probably believe they have "drawn a line" (as a CSA salesman suggested last week) under the Majola bonus scandal.
They may also think they can now move on to entertaining a queue of sponsors, which they do not have because no self-respecting company wants to be seen doing business with CSA.
The tactics of the board in getting rid of Nyoka as president have been despicable. They have not considered the ordinary cricketers whom they represent and they have even tried to draw the Proteas players into the mess.
Khan and his gang will try to stare this one down, but their leader's reputation is in tatters.
Majola will forever be seen as the man who paid himself money to which he was not entitled - just as Tony Yengeni will always be known as the man and the Mercedes, Jacob Zuma as the president who was kept by Schabir Shaik, and Sicelo Shiceka as the minister who used taxpayers' money to visit his girlfriend in a Swiss jail.
It just is not cricket - and it has not been for a long time.